Blog: Chris Ramos & Jennifer Harlan

Chris Ramos decided to buy a bus. He wanted to get people from the suburbs into Detroit. Then he got the idea to run the bus on biodiesel; might as well help save the planet, right? So he quit his job, hired Jennifer Harlan and started The Night Move. It wasn't as simple as it sounds. Chris and Jennifer will be blogging about starting a business in a recession, the obstacles they face and what they've learned so far.

Chris Ramos Post 3: Have you had your green today?

And…we’re back. We want to use this post to talk about the environment, and how saving it feels so right. We’ll try to refrain from preaching. 

I remember a cartoon sketch from Sesame Street when I was a little kid, where a boy was brushing his teeth with the water running. There was a fish outside the house swimming in a pond. As the water poured out of the faucet, the water level in the pond started dropping. The cartoon fish picked up the phone and called the boy to ask him to use less water. The cartoon made a pretty big impact (apparently, since I still remember it), and I’ve always had a guilt complex about wasting. Everything we do impacts our habitat and habitats around us. We need to be more conscious about the effects of our actions. 

It’s great that this whole “green” thing is catching on like it is. We need accountability for the damage we’ve caused to the environment. If we had been eco-conscious since the beginning of time, it wouldn’t be such a change now to implement environmentally sound practices. Everyone would have always recycled. We wouldn’t have cars that weren’t electric. Solar power would be a commonplace energy source. And we wouldn’t have holes in our ozone layer or melting ice caps. 

But we can’t change the past. And if we could we’d probably be a planet of vegan hippies with a cow overpopulation problem. 

For our business, trying to be green is easy. Our main source of revenue is a vehicle, so running on biodiesel is the obvious solution. For other companies, the solutions may not be so apparent. One thing a lot of businesses are doing is partnering with companies like, whose slogan is “Reduce what you can, offset what you can’t.” Basically these organizations provide you with a carbon calculator to help you determine the carbon footprint of your house, your business, an event, or your whole life. They know you need to use electricity and fuel to survive. The idea is that you can offset the miles you drive to work every day and the number of lights in your home by making a donation to one of these organizations. They will then use the accumulated funds toward developing alternate forms of energy, or planting trees. You can choose where you want your donation to be distributed. We chose alternative energy research, but there’s a grocery list of choices which will all neutralize your carbon footprint. 

But this doesn’t mean that you can just pay a bunch of money and the problems are solved. Burning plastic while handing money over to doesn’t mean you and the environment are square. 

Reducing is important too (and reusing and recycling, if you remember your three Rs). Carpool or ride a bus (hint, hint). Does your office recycle? Most of this stuff is really simple, especially as companies are jumping onto the green bandwagon. There are so many green products on the market that didn’t used to be there, and they’re readily available in any store. They’re making the change to green living easy.  

So you should make your life greener. Oops. We’re preaching. But regardless of what Kermit the Frog may have sung, it is easy being green.